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Pope cancels African tour due to knee treatment

Saturday, June 11th 2022 - 10:41 UTC
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The Pope has no intention to retire due to health issues, Vatican sources said The Pope has no intention to retire due to health issues, Vatican sources said

Pope Francis has been forced to cancel a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan due to knee problems, the Vatican announced Friday. The Argentine pontiff has already postponed a trip to Lebanon in June, citing “health reasons.”

The journey was scheduled for July 2-7 and there was no mention of the DRC being one of the places where monkeypox is endemic. Meanwhile, a visit to Canada planned for July 24-30 remains on the calendar “until further notice,” according to the Holy See's press department.

”At the request of his doctors, and in order not to compromise the results of a knee therapy still in progress, the Holy Father regrets being forced to postpone his trip (...) to a later date that remains to be defined,“ the director of the Holy See's press service, Matteo Bruni, said in a statement.

The Argentina-born Pope has suffered pain in his right knee in recent weeks, and last month appeared for the first time in a wheelchair at a public event. Francis himself had Corriere della Sera last month that he would undergo ”infiltration“ surgery, which consists of the injection of anti-inflammatory drugs. ”I have been in this state for some time now, I can't walk,“ the pontiff had told the Italian publication after canceling several meetings.

According to Vatican sources, ”the Pope is better and has less pain, but not enough to be able to travel.“ But ”he had no choice,“ the sources added.

The Pope's knee problems have fueled rumors about a possible retirement by Francis. But in Vatican circles, the word is that Francis is still in good mental health and has no such plans for the time being.

”On behalf of the Congolese people, the government of the DRC wishes Pope Francis a speedy recovery and assures him that it awaits him in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” DRC Communication Minister and government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said in a statement.

In early April, during a two-day trip to Malta, Francis had already shown difficulties due to his joint problems and had to use a lifting platform to get on and off his plane. He also suffers from hip pains, which make him limp, and he already underwent a delicate colon operation in July 2021.

Categories: Politics, International.

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